In 1936, Robert H. Crandall (1915 - 2006) created a collection of Butterflies, Moths and Arachnids for the Tioga Point Museum. Robert was the son of Harry and Gertrude Crandall and grew up in Athens. At a young age he contracted pneumonia and lost a lung. It is said that during his recovery, he watched a spider from his bed and became interested in the world of insects. Dr. Donald Guthrie encouraged his interest and this led to a lifelong passion in the study and collection of insects.
He was known as the 'Ant Man of Altadena'. A graduate in zoology and entomology from the University of Arizona, Robert Heggie Crandall was an enthusiastic amateur entomologist from childhood (dubbed 'the Spider Boy' in his home town). In his lifetime, he amassed a vast collection of over half a million (catalogued) insect specimens, housed in 445 drawers. An old Admiral fridge in his home contained parasitic wasps and a tub in his bathroom was home to a Gila monster. A giant toad inhabiting the toilet scared the odd visitor.
The eccentric and single-minded Crandall was also a gifted photographer, an early exponent of close-ups in nature documentary filmmaking, using custom built zoom lenses. He conceived the original idea for Walt Disney's Oscar-winning masterpiece The Living Desert (1953) and served as one of its chief cinematographers. He also did special effects work on one of the better Hollywood creature features, The Monster That Challenged the World (1957) (a giant prehistoric sea snail!).
Upon his death in 2006, his collection was donated to a lady who assisted him in his later years. It was purchased by his brother Richard and donated to the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County.
A tiny bee, 'Perdita Crandalli', is named in his honour.
Robert Crandall Butterfly, Moth & Insect Collection - 1936 -
Website funded in part by the Bradford County Room Tax Grant